May 16, 2018

Homeless veterans at increased risk of postop readmission

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

For veterans having surgical procedures performed in the VA healthcare system, homelessness is an important risk factor for unplanned readmission, finds this study.

Analyzing 232,373 surgical procedures performed on 199,879 patients, researchers found that 5,068 of the procedures were performed on homeless patients.

The rate of readmission within 1 month was 13.3% for homeless veterans, compared with 9.3% for housed veterans. After adjustments for other factors, homelessness was associated with a 43% increase in odds of readmission.

Homeless veterans were younger than housed veterans and had lower rates of medical comorbidities, but they had higher rates of mental health problems. Discharge destination other than the community, recent alcohol abuse, and elevated ASA classification were significant risk factors linked to readmission.

Judicious use of postoperative nursing or residential rehabilitation programs may be effective in reducing readmission and improving care transitions in vulnerable veterans, the authors say.

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